The state House is prepared to advance a budget that cuts more money from the University of Missouri, maintains the majority Republicans’ rejection of Medicaid expansion, and cuts money some Republicans say could go to abortions.
The House on Tuesday made the latest round of changes to a proposed $27.1-billion spending plan for the year starting July 1.
It rejected an attempt by Representative Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) to restore part of the performance-based funding to the University of Missouri.
“These are performance dollars for performance measures that they have hit. This money will go straight to student activities and make sure that the students continue to have a positive educational experience,” said Rowden.
His amendment was voted down, with some Republicans saying it was because he proposed taking the money from a cost-share program meant to supplement the state’s needs in transportation funding.
Earlier story: Missouri House takes another $1-mil from MU, declines performance funding restoration
The budget would take $1-million from the Columbia MU campus and put it towards agricultural research at Lincoln University.
The House adopted language to specify that no money in the budget for Social Services can go to those who provide or counsel women on non-life-saving abortions. Representative Michael Butler (D-St. Louis) and other Democrats said that’s unnecessary.
“The [state] funding that goes to Planned Parenthood – that doesn’t go towards abortions. That goes towards health work for women,” said Butler.
The sponsor of that amendment, Representative Robert Ross (R-Yukon), said there was “conflicting information” about whether state tax dollars are going to abortions. He proposed another amendment that cut more than $55,000 from money for pharmacy needs for low-income Missourians. He said budget staff pointed it out to him.
“I said find every dollar within our budget that – our taxdollars that went towards an abortion – because I’m looking to cut that,” said Ross.
When questioned he did not elaborate how that money would go to abortions. Democrats including Representative
Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) said it doesn’t.
“There is a whole litany of things on this list that have absolutely nothing to do with an abortion. It simply has to do with women’s healthcare,” said Beatty. “For the last time, stay out of our uterus.”
Republicans also led votes to reject Democrat’s amendments to accept federal money to expand Medicaid.
Another round of favorable votes would send the budget proposal to the Senate. The budget is due to the governor by May 6, but Republican legislative leaders want it out earlier so that they have time to consider before the session ends May 13 overrides of any vetoes or restrictions Governor Jay Nixon (D) might make.